Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Kyle Korver for Saturday’s print edition of the AJC:
Kyle Korver has landed in Atlanta – and what a trip it was just to get here.
Perhaps odyssey is a more apt description of the three-week process that resulted in Korver being traded to the Hawks from the Bulls this offseason. The long-range shooting specialist said he has “good vibes” with his new teammates early in training camp. However, there were some unsettling moments while his future was being determined during two cross-country trips – one by car, one by plane – with his six-month pregnant wife Juliet.
Korver said he knew following last season that with the Bulls under financial constraints they would not be able to keep most of their bench players, including his $5 million salary. The team agreed to work with Korver and his agent to secure an acceptable destination.
The Korvers embarked on a week-long drive from Brooklyn to Santa Barbara, a chance to put a foot in each ocean, he says. With several teams interested, the couple used an iPad on the trip to go to each possible destination in their minds. He was notified that a deal had been reached with Minnesota. Korver would be back in the Midwest, a four-hour drive from family.
“After a couple of days, nothing had been announced,” Korver said. “No one called me from Minnesota. I thought, ‘This is weird.’”
By the time they made it to Las Vegas, the reason was clear. Another deal was in the works that would send Korver on to Portland. OK, at least a brother and his fiancée had just relocated to that city. A free baby sitter.
“So we are thinking this is where God wants us,” Korver said. “And then that is not happening either. It was taking forever.
“After a couple days, my agent said ‘I don’t know what’s going on. The trade is gone through but I just don’t feel good about it and Atlanta has been calling every day. I think we should switch over to Atlanta.’”
Two hours after arriving in California, the couple, pregnant remind you, raced through the airport trying to catch a red-eye flight to Atlanta for a physical. They arrived at 7 a.m. only to be informed that the NBA offices were closed for the weekend. After three days in a downtown hotel, with no car and no understanding of the city, the physical and the trade were completed.
“It’s kind of like the first day of school in a new place,” Korver said on the first day of training camp with his fourth team after stops in Philadelphia, Utah and Chicago. “You’ve got new faces, a new coaching staff to impress, in some ways you are trying to prove yourself again, which is good for you. It kind of puts you on edge, makes you work a little harder.”
Korver, who will become an unrestricted free agent following the season, and his wife are still awaiting their new addition.
The Hawks will count on his long-range shooting ability. He has a career 3-point average of .413 (1,134-for-2,743) as he enters his 10th season. His average is 14th on the NBA’s all-time 3-point percentage list and is eighth among active players. Combined with new teammate Anthony Morrow, current Hawks players hold the ninth and 14th spots on that all-time list.
“He puts so much pressure on the defense that, at times, it allows you to play 4-on-5 because he eliminates one of the defensive players because they have to pay so much attention to him,” coach Larry Drew said. “They have to know where he is at all times on the floor.”
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